In the detailing community protection products are often discussed at length by professionals and enthusiasts alike, everyone having their own preference and go to options. Realistically though while many of it comes down to personal preference, there is actually a ‘best’ scenario in which to use each but it can have many deciding factors such as, looks, durability, cost and even which season we are in. First let’s break them down and explain what each is.
The most commonly used form of protection for your vehicle; waxes are mostly all natural ingredients with the main ingredient being Carnauba which comes from the carnauba palm trees of Brazil. Other waxes such as paraffin and beeswax are also often found in car waxes and these three ingredients are what tend to give paintwork that warm glow after being waxed.
In my opinion cars with wax on them, look better than those with sealants and coatings due to how the wax affects the paintwork – with that deep, warm glow. The downside of waxes is that they tend to break down faster than that of sealants with your typical wax lasting between 1 & 3 months. Waxes, however, tend to have better beading and water repelling properties than that of their man-made cousins.
Made from a combination of man-made and organic materials, based on polymers sealants can provide durability than waxes just can’t reach yet – but we’re getting there.
Typically a sealant will outlast a wax on your paint, but it just doesn’t give that same boost in gloss that wax does, instead of giving sharp and crisp reflections which may work wonders on silver and white vehicles but leaves you disappointed with the darker coloured vehicles. Sealants also tend to have less water repelling properties, sheeting water off the paint surface rather than beading and rolling off. They are best used in harsher climates where a wax would struggle to keep the car protected.
Coatings are becoming bigger and more commonly used in the detailing industry. Designed to last anywhere from 1 year to 9 years on the surface of your paint offering superior beading and gloss levels than sealants and waxes combined. Coatings come with their downsides though, they absolutely have to be applied by a professional, making them costly initially. Also important to note; any defects in the paint are locked in for the duration of the coatings life, so if you want a perfect finish, paint correction must be carried out beforehand adding to the already costly process of installing a coating.
Coatings them self act as a second clear coat or lacquer to the paint giving your clear coat almost a second life. Please note – many people advertise coatings as being scratch resistant and this is simply not true. The reason people say this is due to the fact that coatings add depth to your clear coat and are rated 9H in the pencil scale indicating the ‘hardness’ they provide. If you inflict a light enough scratch it may simply just affect the coating and not the clear coat or paint itself but this is rarely the case.
Hybrid Waxes are slowly closing the gap on the durability that sealants provide but with the added benefits that wax provides. This is due to wax manufacturers incorporating some ingredients that are typically found in ceramic coatings; Si02 (Silicon Dioxide). This however makes them more expensive than a majority of waxes but there are hybrid waxes that offer long term protection by incorporating sealant based properties, offering similar protection at a reduced cost.
For me this has become a trend in the detailing industry and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.
Spray Waxes & Sealants
Spray on and buff off or spray on and rinse off type products are also closing the gap on the spot (durability wise) that traditional waxes sit in with some offering three months protection by incorporating si02 again – these are typically the spray on, rinse off products.
Spray waxes are typically sprayed on an applicator or the paint, left to cure briefly and buffed off giving a quick boost to the life of an already existing wax.
When To Use Each
As a professional my use of these products differ slightly on a day to day basis but speaking as a consumer these are how best to use them on your daily car. This is the method in which I use them on my personal car but your circumstances may change depending on the climate and personal preferences.
All at Once – The absolute ideal scenario is that you would use every one of these products on your car and for different reasons. Ceramic Coating would be first up to be applied the vehicle, giving you that second layer of clear coat. Next up, apply the sealant as the base coat, use the wax to give that warm glossy shine and use the spray products as your maintenance or top up products with every wash. This is the ideal scenario that would give you the most protection but of course is also the most expensive and time consuming.
Waxes – Typically in the summer I use a show wax type product as I will be out at least once a week to give the car a wash and adding another layer of wax is no big deal.
Sealants – When we start approaching the winter time, ill strip the show wax off, decontaminate the paint and add a sealant to give me the durability to withstand the long, Scottish winter. Top it with a Hybrid Wax for the superior water behaviour and extra protection.
Ceramic Coatings – Typically ceramic coatings work hand in hand with new cars such as leases due to them being able to last the full duration of ownership and the relatively defect-free paint surface at that age. You can then top up the coating twice annually for that boost in protection.
Spray Waxes – Best used after each and every wash to extend the duration of your LSP (Last Stage of Protection).
What Do I Recommend?
Wax: Auto Finesse Essence
Hybrid Wax: EZ Car Care Ceramic / WaxAddicts Quartz Si02
Sealants: Menzerna Powerlock
Spray/Rinse Sealant: CarPro Hydro2
Spray/Buff Wax: Auto Finesse Glisten / EZ Car Care Chrome
Ceramic Coatings: CarPro Cquartz UK Edition / GTechniq Crystal Serum
For more detailing related blogs or detailing services please visit us at www.simplydetailing.co.uk
Credit: Images from Google Images & AutoFinesse.co.uk